NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) – New Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton says moving into his new office is secondary because he wants to hit the road first sharing what he calls a “great message.”
It was among the many topics covered Tuesday by Speaker Sexton in his first full on-camera interview since taking office.
The Crossville state representative who has served in the House since 2010 was sworn in Friday during a legislative special session.
Sexton replaces fellow Republican Glen Casada who resigned earlier this month in the midst of several scandals including the admission of sending sexist texts.
The new speaker listed legislative accomplishments this past session that were overshadowed by Casada’s downfall.
“Katie Beckett (waiver), a very good budget this year. the number of jobs created over the last nine years, our income levels are going up, saving for tomorrow, lowest debt state in America, most fiscally conservative state in America,” were the highlights listed by the new speaker.
The Katie Beckett wavier allows any parent of a child with severe disabilities to qualify for Medicaid to help with home care.
Shortly after being sworn in Friday, Speaker Sexton told members “I will make sure your voice is heard.”
He said his promise passed its first test.
“We debated a couple of things and those who wanted to speak had the opportunity to speak,” added Sexton.
Much of the discussion centered around unsuccessful efforts to expel Republican Rep. David Byrd for accusations that he sexually abused female basketball players he coached decades before taking office.
The new speaker did not confirm reports that Rep. Byrd told his fellow Republican colleagues in a closed caucus meeting last week that he won’t seek re-election.
“That caucus meeting was private and what comments were made is up to David Byrd to release if that is what he wants to do,” said Speaker Sexton.
Speaker Sexton last week requested an attorney general’s opinion on if the House can expel a member such as Byrd on alleged behavior before taking office.
Sexton said he says that opinion could take weeks or months.